Recycling bottles can help reduce our carbon footprint and significantly benefit the environment. Using glass bottles can be your first step towards going green. Unlike their plastic peers, glass bottles can be cleaned and reused up to 50 times without any quality deterioration. This helps in reducing the usage of scarce natural resources which go into its manufacture. Various retailers offer a return to customers to encourage this practice whenever they return empty glass bottles.
Walmart, one of the biggest retailers in the United States sells thousands of bottles and containers both in its physical and online stores. This brings us to one of the most potent questions, ‘Does Walmart have a bottle return policy?’ Today we will shed some light on this topic so that you develop a clear understanding of Walmart’s bottle return policy.
Walmart bottle return facilities across the United States
You can avail of Walmart’s bottle return services in states (Connecticut, California, Iowa, Hawaii, Michigan, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, New York, and Vermont) having container deposit laws, also referred to as “bottle bills.” A minimum refundable deposit is required on the containers of soda, beer, and other beverages. However, only glass containers fall under the purview of bottle bills. You can get cash refunds on returning glass bottles at Walmart in the above-mentioned states. There were bottle return programs in certain states like Delaware. But these programs have been replaced with other types of recycling programs. The bottle return services aren’t offered by all stores during all operating hours. Thus, it’s advisable to check with your local Walmart when it shall accept the bottle return.
Steps to return a bottle to Walmart
- Use a Walmart store locator to locate your nearest store.
- Bring along your glass bottles and on reaching the store locate the bottle return kiosks. These kiosks might be located either inside or outside the store and are usually green in color.
- Go to a free machine and once it is ready, place your glass bottles in the designated slot.
- Once you are finished, the machine will offer a voucher receipt with your refund amount.
- You will have to offer this receipt to Walmart’s cashier and they will provide you with a cash refund.
Can you return all types of bottles to Walmart?
Yes, you can return all types of bottles but only the glass ones are eligible for a deposit refund. The aluminum cans and plastic bottles have to be recycled in proper containers. However, you need to clean the bottles as returning damaged or chipped bottles won’t make you eligible for a refund.
Can you return bottles bought from a separate store?
Irrespective of where you purchased your bottle, this program can be accessed by anyone. The bottles need to be cleaned and you will be eligible for a cash refund at the different participating locations. You just need to ensure that Walmart sells the type of bottle that you are returning. A refund will be issued after the machine scans the barcode label and the bottle is a part of the store’s inventory.
What happens to the returned bottles?
Every few days, all the bottles are removed from the machine by a drink wholesaler. Next, all the containers are taken to a sorting facility and grouped with similarly shaped containers. From here the bottle is sent to the producer manufacturing a similar type of bottle. Here it is cleaned, refilled, and sent back to the shop shelf for being bought again by end customers. All the glass bottles returned to participating Walmart stores undergo recycling under the state-run glass recycling programs. At the end of the recycling programs, it is determined if the bottle can be sanitized and reused or needs to be crushed and recycled. In the case of the former choice, the bottle is sent to a bottling plant and the latter one is sent to third-party recyclers where it is crushed and molded into new glass.
Which other retailers accept bottle returns?
Several retailers in states with bottle bills offer deposit refunds in exchange for bottles. Some examples of such stores are:
- Cost Plus World Market
- Fred Meyer
- Grocery Outlet
- Whole Foods
How can you recycle bottles?
- Take your bottles to a recycling center.
- Return them to a bottle return location.
- Reuse the bottles for different DIY projects.
- Place them for curbside pickup in appropriate recycling bins.
Irrespective of the recycling method you choose, the bottles you submit need to be clean for being recycled properly. You should never try to return a moldy, dirty, or sticky bottle to the recycling center or bottle return location. Doing otherwise will cause the bottle to be thrown into the garbage by recyclers.
Do you need to purchase new bottles while returning old bottles?
No, there isn’t any purchase or exchange expectation when returning a bottle for a refund. However, you need to buy the new bottles for getting back the deposit.
Will you get a refund for returning plastic bottles to Walmart?
Plastic bottles can be returned only at a Walmart Community Recycling Hub in Arkansas or Oklahoma. Though you can dispose of the plastic bottles here, you won’t receive any refund.
Is Walmart’s bottle return policy applicable to shampoo and conditioner bottles?
No, shampoo and conditioner usually come in plastic containers, and these can’t be returned through Walmart’s bottle return program. Rather you will have to properly clean and dispose of them in plastic recycling receptacles specific to the kind of plastic the bottle is made from.
What are the operating hours of Walmart’s bottle returns program?
The operating hours for this service vary across different stores. The time will be fairly short in areas with limited interest. You should call and check before depositing your empty bottles with Walmart.
Is there a bottle deposit fee at Walmart?
You need to have a bottle deposit of $1.50 for using the bottle return at Walmart. Different payment methods like cash, credit card, or debit card can be used for paying the bottle deposit. A free bottle deposit isn’t offered by Walmart on purchases made at its brick-and-mortar stores. Only online purchases come under the purview of its free return.
How long do you have to return a bottle?
You have 365 days from the date of purchasing the bottle to return it and get a full refund. However, the refund amount will be determined by how much of your purchase price was returned.
Walmart is one of the biggest pioneers of sustainable practices. Among its different sustainability goals, one is attaining zero waste in its operations and they are aiming to attain this within 2025. It’s imperative to note that Walmart accepts only glass bottles through its bottle return program. The refund amount received by returning bottles depends on the deposit money paid on purchasing your beverage. Usually, the bottle deposits range from five to ten cents and this amount is refunded back on returning the bottle. The states of Michigan and Oregon offer ten cents for every bottle whereas Maine, Vermont, and California give more for bigger bottles. There is an upper limit on refunds of $25 per person per day.